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10th U.S. Congressional District

The District 10 race pits a longtime incumbent with a powerful chairmanship against two challengers who would be new to the Washington scene.

By ALICIA CALDWELL

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000


They've called him an old-timer who has spent so much time in Washington that he is out of touch with how Pinellas County has changed during the past three decades.

The candidates hoping to unseat C.W. Bill Young, who holds the powerful position of chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, believe the people of U.S. House District 10 are looking for the brand of change they're offering.

The challengers -- Josette Green of the Natural Law Party and Randy Heine of no party affiliation -- believe voters will look beyond the power job he holds. Also running is write-in candidate James A. Sauer.

"What projects did he bring back to the area that are extraordinary?" asked Heine, a tobacco store owner in Pinellas Park. "None. This is his job. If he wasn't there, would we get these things? The answer, I think, is yes if you have an effective congressman."

Heine also favors universal health care, and a simplification of the tax code by instituting a national sales tax.

Green, who markets student loans to colleges, said her campaign is about a different agenda, one that appeals to people who don't usually vote. She wants to restructure health care to emphasize preventive care, and she is against genetic engineering of the nation's food supply.

"It has nothing to do with Congressman Young," she said. "We're looking to attract people who normally will not vote."

The projects Young, a Largo Republican who has held the appropriations committee position for the past two years, brought to the area last year include $5-million for construction of a new reservoir in Hillsborough County, $600,000 for redevelopment of Largo's downtown and $1.4-million for flood prevention work in downtown Clearwater.

Last month, Young also managed to put $50-million for improvements to U.S. 19 into the new federal highway bill. And he included $286-million in Florida projects in the defense, energy and agriculture spending bills.

That figure includes a new Army Reserve unit and hangar at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport with four Blackhawk helicopters and a $17.8-million hangar. It also includes $26-million for a ballistics project for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms likely to be based in Pinellas.

In addition, another federal spending bill includes millions more Young has earmarked for the area, including $1.2-million for St. Petersburg to renovate Sunken Gardens.

"If I had been there less time, I wouldn't be chair of the appropriations committee," Young said in responding to criticism he had been in public office too long. "And I may not have been able to get that $50-million for U.S. 19 into the appropriations bill."

Other issues that Young has focused on during his tenure in Congress include national defense and intelligence, education and medical issues. He created the national bone marrow registry and has taken a particular interest in medical research.

"You name the disease, and I've done something to help fund the research," he said.

An issue both Green and Heine cite as important to pursue in Washington is campaign finance reform. Young said he also believes that too much money fuels the political system, but he understands U.S. Supreme Court rulings that have said limits on campaign spending are an infringement of constitutional rights.

"If it were up to me, I would place a limit on spending," Young said. "There is way too much money in it."

Green said it would be her first priority. The current system, fueled by big money donations from special interests, is one of legalized bribes, she said. She has raised $7,300 for the race, according to the last quarterly campaign finance report filed.

According to campaign finance reports, Young has $344,000 in his campaign account. Much of it, he said, is left over from previous races.

Heine has raised $13,000 -- largely his own money -- for the race. He said the money is profit from his business, the Tobacco Emporium in Pinellas Park.

It is his business that has been at the center of the legal controversy that has swirled around Heine for the past couple of years.

In January 1998, Pinellas sheriff's deputies raided Heine's home and business and found marijuana and what they called drug paraphernalia. In September, charges against Heine were dropped. A judge last year had declared the search warrants used to enter Heine's property were based on lies.

In 1984, Heine faced charges of animal cruelty and discharging a firearm in public. Heine said the charges stemmed from an incident in which he encountered a duck that had been run over by a car and was in pain. He said he shot it to put it out of its misery. Heine said he went to trial, but was found not guilty.

Heine said he has been persecuted over the years because he has had the temerity to challenge the system by running for sheriff in 1984, and other offices previously. He was unsuccessful each time.

THE JOB

U.S. House District 10 encompasses the southern half of Pinellas County. Members of the U.S. House serve two-year terms and are paid $141,300 a year.

REPUBLICAN

C.W. BILL YOUNG, 69, of Largo, has represented the St. Petersburg area in Congress since 1970. He is the senior member in the Florida congressional delegation and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. He also was a state senator for 10 years. Born in Pennsylvania, Young moved to Florida in 1946 and graduated from St. Petersburg High. He has an honorary degree from the University of South Florida, awarded in 1998. He is married and has three sons. ASSETS: house in Virginia, condominium in Largo and a savings account. LIABILITIES: mortgages. SOURCE OF INCOME: salary.

NATURAL LAW

JOSETTE GREEN, 44, of St. Pete Beach, markets student loan payment plans to colleges. She also has been a college administrator and a retail buyer. She received a bachelor's degree in home economics and business in 1978 from Adrian College, in Adrian, Mich., and a master's degree in finance in 1986 from the University of Akron. Born in Ohio, Green grew up in Michigan and moved to Florida in 1988. She is single and has no children. ASSETS: condominium, stocks, mutual funds. LIABILITIES: mortgage. SOURCE OF INCOME: salary, investment income. WEB SITE: http://www.greenforcongress.com.

NO PARTY

RANDY HEINE, 49, owns the Tobacco Emporium in Pinellas Park. In 1984, he ran unsuccessfully for Pinellas County sheriff. Before that he ran for the Florida House, the Pinellas County Commission and mayor of Pinellas Park -- all unsuccessfully. Born in Connecticut, he moved to Florida in 1969. Heine is a graduate of Northeast High School, received an associate in arts degree from St. Petersburg Junior College in 1973 and a bachelor's degree from University of Florida in 1975. He is single and has no children. ASSETS: business, stocks. LIABILITIES: business loan. SOURCE OF INCOME: business and investment income. WEB SITE: http://www. randyheineforcongress.com.

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